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Idiopathic Toe Walking

Toe walking – when toddlers or children walk on their toes instead of with their heel touching down first – is one of the most common variations of walking in children. Often they will outgrow it, and it does not usually cause the child pain. There is no clear cause of what we call idiopathic toe walking, but sometimes it can be a result of other medical conditions.

Children who exhibit toe walking may or may not be able to stand flat on their feet when at rest. Sometimes they have tight heel cords or hamstrings, which may be the cause or a side effect of walking on their toes. In rare cases, the toe walking can be a sign of other underlying neuromuscular problems. If that is a concern, we will sometimes suggest further tests such as an MRI.

While most children do not require treatment, sometimes we will treat the toe walking with physical therapy, or serial stretching casts to help them stretch out their heel cords.

If your child is a toe walker and you would like your child to be evaluated, we would be happy to set up an appointment with one of our orthopedic providers.

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